Thursday, March 18, 2010

Photographing the action during March Madness

As the basketball season bounces its way to the Final Four, lots of photographers are making their plans to travel to see their favorite team in the playoffs and finals. Are you planning to take your camera to capture some of the action? Not having media credentials will keep you off the floor, but you can still get some great shots if you plan ahead.

First thing to check…what is the camera policy of the arena? Every arena seems to have its own security policy in force, and you need to know what it is. At a recent pro basketball game, I discovered the hard way that their policy had changed, and I hadn't bothered to call ahead. That resulted in a long walk back to my car to leave the camera there.

Turns out that any lens over 6" in length categorizes that camera as a "pro" camera, and those aren't allowed in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. I was using a 200 mm telephoto; but, had I known, I could just as easily have taken another lens. Any other lens close to that focal length. with a barrel length of 5-1/2," would have gotten in. Same camera, but just a slightly smaller lens.

While you are talking to the arena, ask about photo opportunities before tip-off. Many arenas may allow fan photographers to shoot from closer to the floor during warm-ups. That's your chance for close-ups of your favorite players.

Like so many other situations with photography, a little planning ahead can yield much more satisfactory results.

For more information on March Madness, check out these articles by other writers:

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